The Washington Times - October 14, 2011, 01:05PM

The Nationals announced Friday morning that, before heading to Chicago to open the 2012 season at Wrigley Field, they’ll welcome the Boston Red Sox to Nationals Park on April 3 for an exhibition game.

There are a few things that this one exhibition game means:

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— In the 2012 season, the Nationals will now host both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, two of baseball’s biggest draws. With the American League East on tap for Washington in the 2012 Interleague schedule, the Nationals were already set to travel to Fenway Park and welcome the Yankees for three games in June. With the addition of the exhibition game, the Nationals will now welcome both to Nationals Park. 

— For the eighth straight season since baseball returned to Washington, the Nationals will play a game at their home stadium before they play anywhere else. When the Nationals’ 2012 schedule came out and they were not hosting Opening Day for the first time since 2009, many fans were upset that this string would be broken. The tradition, however, of the Nationals playing at home in their first game outside of Florida will continue with this exhibition game now on tap. 

— The Nationals will be escaping Viera, Fla., a few days earlier than initially expected as they’ll clearly now travel first to Washington to play on Tuesday and then head to Chicago for Opening Day on Thursday, April 5. 

— Bundle up. From Washington to Chicago to New York in April, there’s a good chance the Nationals won’t have the most “spring-like” weather to open their season.